Brickley posts game-high 26 points, now one shy of 1,000 in her career
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Despite a career-high 26 points from junior forward Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline), the second-seeded Wheaton College women's basketball team fell to sixth-seeded Springfield College, 78-63, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal round on Saturday afternoon on the campus of first-seeded Smith College.
The Pride (16-11) will take on the No. 1 seeded Pioneers (16-10) tomorrow at 1 p.m. inside Ainsworth Gym for the NEWMAC Tournament championship. Wheaton (20-7) awaits its postseason tournament fate later this week. With their 62-46 win over seventh-seeded MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday, the Lyons claimed their fifth 20-win season in program history and first since 2007-08.
Brickley, who stands one point shy of reaching the 1,000 career points plateau, produced her 10th career 20-plus point game in a Wheaton uniform going 9-for-15 from the field and 8-of-10 at the free throw line alongside three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Brickley has scored 20 or more points in five games this season, tallied four 20-plus point contests during her sophomore year and also achieved the feat once as a freshman.
Sophomore forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) registered her team-leading 14th double-double of the season and second against Springfield with 17 points, ten rebounds and two blocks. Shoemaker now sits two rejections shy of tying Jenny Champney '10 for the all-time mark of 148 career blocks. Classmate Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) added eight points, a career-high eight assists and one rebound.
Junior guard Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) aided the offense with three points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. In addition, Pierce also bumped her career assists total to 291 putting her 13 helpers away from tying Dee Robichaud '95 for sixth all-time on the career list.
Springfield junior forward Jaimie Bickelhaupt (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) guided the Pride with 20 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Freshman center Ava Adamopoulos (Ludlow, Mass./Ludlow) scored nine points and hauled in 11 rebounds, while sophomore forward Emily Gins (Fort Myers, Fla./Oakwood Friends) had nine points and 12 rebounds including six on the offensive end.
Junior guard Riley Fake (Brockport, N.Y./Brockport) chipped in with ten points and two assists and classmate Andrea Moschetta (Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) compiled eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
The Pride shot 45.9-percent (28-for-61) from the field, 77.3-percent (17-for-22) from the free throw line and won the matchup on the boards, 43-29. Springfield pulled down 15 offensive rebounds leading to an 18-13 advantage in second chance points.
Wheaton went 44.4-percent (24-for-54) from the field, assisted on 17 of its baskets and outscored the Pride, 40-28, in the paint. The Lyons also held a 13-9 differential in points off turnovers.
The Blue and White jumped out to a 23-10 margin at the 12:20 mark of the first half as Brickley controlled play in the paint with 11 points. It took nearly ten minutes before Springfield brought the game within one possession when Moschetta's jumper put the Pride's deficit at 32-30 with 3:04 left to play in the opening stanza.
After back-to-back turnovers and a missed three-pointer by Wheaton, Springfield took its third lead in the contest on an old-fashioned three-point play from Bickelhaupt at the 1:55 mark. Sophomore guard Heather Lewis (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) extended the gap to 35-32 with a pair of free throws and Pierce closed out the half going 1-for-2 at the line for a 35-33 score at the break.
Wheaton tied up the game on three separate occasions in the early part of the second stanza receiving six-straight points from Brickley to even up the scoreboard at 39-39 with 17:31 remaining. Junior guard Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs) helped provide the Lyons with their final lead of the game swiping the ball away from Lewis which eventually sent Brickley to the free throw line where she went 1-for-2.
Springfield answered with a 14-3 run and never looked back as the Pride led by as many as 20 points with 2:13 to go in the contest. Bickelhaupt fueled the offense in the first half with 16 points, while Fake took over in the closing 20 minutes of the game with all ten of her points.
The Pride increased their record to 16-11 in the all-time series versus the Lyons which dates back to the 1995-96 season. Springfield also is 2-1 in the playoffs against Wheaton as the Blue and White bested the Pride in the last postseason matchup between the two squads by a score of 74-69 in the 2007-08 NEWMAC Championship game.